“Dems Seek Reversal on Voter Registration Hurdle”

Zack Roth:

High-ranking congressional Democrats are raising more serious concerns about a move by the director of a federal voting agency that made it easier for several red states to require documentary proof of citizenship from people registering to vote.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Rep. Robert A. Brady and Rep. James E. Clyburn urged the Election Assistance Commission in a letter sent Wednesday to formally rescind a change made in January to the instructions on the federal voter registration form for Kansas, Georgia and Alabama, which allowed those states to require citizenship proof….

In their letter, the Democrats lay out the following findings from the investigation they conducted into Newby’s move:

— They say Newby conducted no written analysis or cost-benefit analysis of the move, to ensure that it would result in more ineligible voters being blocked than eligible ones.

— They say that between them, Kansas, Alabama and Georgia offered just one ineligible voter to support their claim that the change was necessary to protect against illegal voting. (Arizona did not seek to have the form changed).

— They say Newby told investigators in an August hearing that he had been unaware until recently that proof of citizenship laws disproportionately impact minority voters — though there’s mountains of evidence to support that conclusion.

— They say Newby told investigators that he was aware that the EAC had twice denied the states’ requests to change the form, but that he “needed to have a point of view” and did not want to “rubber stamp” past precedent.

— They say Newby told investigators that he believed the move to be legal when he carried it out, but that he’s no longer sure.

— They note that on his personal blog, Newby wrote in 2012: “No election administrator has been more in favor of closing the EAC than me.” The letter then notes that he wrote in 2014, “[T]he EAC is now a ‘was,'” thought it does not note that Newby added, “There are a lot of good people doing good work at the EAC.” The following year, he would accept a job as the agency’s executive director. The posts, the lawmakers appear to suggest, potentially raise questions about Newby’s commitment to running an effective and independent agency.


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